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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Seasons COOKIE Greetings!

A few of the classics: sugar, gingersnaps,
and chocolate gingerbread.
Happy Wednesday all! It's time to start thinking of the fifty million cookie recipes you want to try this season! If you're feeling up to something new, here are a few to kick off your search.

Butter Balls

  • 1 cup finely ground walnuts
  • 2 1⁄4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄2 lb. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⁄2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 2 cups for dredging
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Combine walnuts, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed. Gradually add 1⁄2 cup sugar and beat until mixture is fluffy. Beat in vanilla, then reduce speed and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
  2. Using your hands, shape dough, 1 tbsp. at a time, into small balls, then place about 1" apart on buttered nonstick baking sheets. Bake until cookies are slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place remaining 1-2 cups sugar on a large plate. Roll cookies, while still warm, in sugar, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cookies are completely cool, roll them again in sugar.

Jam-Filled Mezzaluna Cookies
Dahlia Narvaez

  • 1 1/2 cups pastry flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry or blackberry jam
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced blanched almonds
  • Sifted confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  1. In a bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of pastry flour with the 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender, your fingers or 2 dinner knives, blend the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle on the vanilla and knead gently until a dough forms. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and refrigerate. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time and leaving the rest in the refrigerator, roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. Using a 4-inch round biscuit cutter, stamp out as many rounds as possible; gather and reserve the scraps.
  3. Brush the edges of each round with some of the egg white. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon of jam onto one half of each round, leaving a 1/4-inch border; fold the other half over to enclose the jam. Using the tines of a fork, press the edges together to seal. Transfer the mezzalune to one of the chilled baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of dough and filling, then repeat with the gathered scraps. Refrigerate themezzalune for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Brush the mezzalune with egg white, sprinkle with granulated sugar and top with a generous sprinkling of sliced almonds. Bake in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for about 40 minutes, until golden brown, switching the pans halfway through for even baking. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.
Make ahead: The baked mezzaluna cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days or wrapped tightly in plastic and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Candy Cane-Chocolate Cookies
Linda Lomelino

  • 12 oz dark chocolate (70%), chopped, divided
  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 pinches baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz milk chocolate, melted
  • crushed candy cane
  1. Melt 7 oz dark chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Let cool. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Stir in reserved dark chocolate mixture and remaining 5 oz dark chocolate. Add flour mixture and stir until smooth.
  4. Let mixture rest 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Place rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving space between cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
  5. Dip cookies in milk chocolate and then in crushed candy cane (or sprinkle candy cane on top). Place cookies on a wire rack to harden.

Happy baking!

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